Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Home of Florida's Civil War Princess


It is a little known fact that a Princess of the French Empire lived in Florida during the War Between the States.

Princess Catherine Murat was the great-grandniece of President George Washington and the widow of Prince Achille Murat, a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. She was a visitor to the court of Napoleon III and received financial support from the French Empire.

Princess Murat purchased Belleview, a plantation on Jackson Bluff Road in Leon County in 1854. The 520 acre cotton plantation was centered around the house shown here. Built in around 1840, it was more typical of the homes on Florida plantations than the great mansions for which the antebellum South is generally known today. The princess lived here until her death in 1867.

The home has been relocated to the grounds of the Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Sciences and has been beautifully restored to its appearance at the time of the War Between the States. A parlor and bedroom have been furnished with antique furnishings to demonstrate what life was like in the home of the princess, while other rooms feature exhibits on life on a North Florida plantation.

To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/belleview.

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